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tv   Consider This  Al Jazeera  December 30, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm EST

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technology could be the answer >> the future of fracking is about the water >> protecting the planet saving lives... >> how do you convince a big oil company to use this? techknow only on al jazeera america hello i'm antonio mora welcome to a special edition of "consider this," freedom under fire. attacks on human rights and freedom around the world have lead to growing humanitarian crises around the world. some 50 million people displayed by conflicts. nobody is suffering more than children, and despite heroic efforts, relief organizations are overwhelmed. women face discrimination and
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abuse. religious freedom is under assault. and attacks on the people who tell those stories, journalists are happening around the globe, including here at home. ♪ we begin with a staggering number of refugees worldwide as the list of armed conflicts around the world has grown, the number of people forced to flee their homes now exceeds 50 million. in iraq the united nations high commissioner for refugees launched a operation to bring aid to more than half a million people driven from their homes islamic state fighters. >> most of the displaced are still living in schools, mosques, churches unfinished buildings and where else. >> reporter: some 9 million people have fled their homes because of syria's civil war.
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in africa, ethnic fighting in south sudan has created well over a half million refugees. some internal some in camps. meanwhile conflict between christians and muslims in the central african republic has lead to some 430,000 refugees since fighting began last march. and many are dying in desperate attempts to find a better life. for more i'm joined by jeff crisp, senior director forked a -- advocacy international. this is a worldwide problem. there are hundreds of thousands of refugees in latin america, but it's the brutal conflicts underway in africa the middle east the war in afghanistan, and of course at this point any syrian civil war seems to be the deadliest and the one creating the largest number of refugees.
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as any recent conflict created so much havoc for so many people so quickly? >> it really does look pretty grim. and in all of my time working are refugees i can't remember a time when there have been so many conflicts simultaneously. you mentioned syria already. it is certainly preoccupying most of us at the moment. >> we just looked at a map of those being displaced. in lebanon, almost 900,000 people. it's like taking the whole population of canada and moving it to the united states in a matter of a couple of years. >> yeah the situation in lebanon is quite extraordinary. i have had the opportunity to go there in the last couple of months. you can see refugee villages everywhere throughout the country. it's equivalent to the number of
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canadians moving into the united states over a period of 18 months or two years. and one of the things we're beginning to ach appreciate in lebanon, it's also the local populations we have to worry about. because when such a large number of people flood across a border settle in local towns, villages and cities they place an enormous stress on the local infrastructure. so whereas the humanitarian community has traditionally focused its efforts on the refugees themselves now we're beginning to look at the host populations and see what we can do for them. >> to get a sense of just how big this problem is around the world. we found numbers that there are 10 million refugees ash the world, including people like palestinians, that there are 30 million throughout the world that are internally displaced. 1.7 afghans, 100,000 burmese in
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thailand. it's happening everywhere. are the u.s. and the world powers doing enough to help? >> i think the response is different according to the country concerned. i think the international response, in particular the u.s. response has been quite extraordinary. there has been an extremely large amount of resources devoted to the operation. and that's because the middle east is a very volatile region. it's of great interest to the united states and other western countries, whereas if we take the central african republic which is probably a country that most american citizens haven't heard of or know too much about. it's much more difficult to raise funds for a country like that that doesn't have the same global importance. >> and some of the refugees are going enormous distances in some
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cases. and we have seen hundreds in this past year dieing in the mediterranean when their overcrowded boats sank. and oftentimes once they get to the places they are trying to get to they don't even get a very good reception. >> absolutely. on the other hand there are some places that give refugees a good reception. i was just watching al jazeera america before we came on air, and i saw an interesting feature about a somali ice hockey team playing in sweden but there are other countries, and australia is unfortunately a very good example of a country that is giving an extremely hostile reception. interaccepting their boats sending them back detaining them in islands in extremely poor conditions and even if they are recognized as refugees without the pos specht of a long-term future in australia.
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>> yeah, so many people suffering in so many places. jeff crisp thank you for your time. thanks in large part to the conflicts we just discussed last year the world witnessed the greatest displacement of religious communities in recent memory. the state department found that 75% of the people in the world now live in countries that do not respect religious freedom. john kerry singled out islamic state of iraq and the levant. >> isil declared that any remaining christians in mosul, must convert, pay a tax, or be executed on the spot. around the world, oppressive governments and extremist groups have been crystal clear about what they stand against. so we have to be equally clear about what we must stand for. >> in early august before the
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yazidis were forced into their mass exodus i had a chance to speak with the deputy assistant secretary of state in the burrow of democracy, human rights and labor. steven good to have you with us this is really a grim report card on the state of religious freedoms. you single out countries that are the top tier offenders that go from east asia to the middle east and africa. the map we're putting up now shows the worst offenders. it includes russia afghanistan, turkey cuba. this is the worst situation in recent memory you say in the report. what does that mean exactly? >> yeah thank you for the question, and thank you for having me on. with the 2013 report what we saw was not only a continuation of religious violations in counts they are have typically been among the worst performers
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places like north korea, iran syria, and so forth, but we saw rising incidents and new conflicts emerge places like the central african republic for example, continuing turmoil in the middle east that lead to a larger significance when it comes to rising tide. so what is different, and we haven't quantified it in specific terms, but certainly what we want to report and we thought is very important is that the trend line particularly for last year was particularly bad. >> in much of the middle east the christian presence is becoming a shadow of its former self. hundreds of thousands of minority christians have fled syria and that civil war. the arab spring brought a lot of tumultuous times to that region. and that has impacted religious freedoms. where do you see the worst of it in the middle east? >> certainly i think looking at
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where the ongoing conflict is currently centered. looking at syria and iraq in particular, but some of the surrounding countries as well. that's where we see a large amount and where we have the greatest alarm. i think you are right when you look at the persecution of religious minority communities, we're seeing grave abuses in a crisis that is unparalleled in terms of what these communities have faced for not only hundreds of years but even longer. they have coexisted in relative harmony, and now all of a sudden with the on slot of conflict with the on slot of new violence of chaos and so forth, we're seeing them displaced and moved into unknow places. >> now we're seeing these horrifying images coming out of
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iraq, the isil fighters. this issue has been labeled as a top priority for the obama administration. what is being done? >> that's correct. first of all, i think there's two ways that we have tried to approach the -- the issue. on the one hand we're providing for immediate humanitarian assistance. we're trying to make sure those communities that have been displayed and are residing in other areas, have the basic necessities that they require. they have access to things like water, sufficient food nutrition, shelter and so forth. so that's phrase one. making sure these communities are able to continue on. i think step two is the longer and harder part. it's actually trying to figure out what is an approach and the solution to dealing with the type of displacement and the
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conflict that is causing a deep-rooted unsettling, that is causing a -- a -- really the deacon deacon deacon -- deconstruction of these communities. >> secretary kerry noted that 75% of the world's population live in countries that don't allow religious freedom. we're talking about places like hungary, and france and greece and saudi arabia. how are we doing on working with those countries, with those friends when it comes to religious freedom? >> i think when it comes to the issue of anti-semitism in particular that is something we made pint of highlighting in the report. we have seen some worsening trends in countries in europe some of which you mentioned, and to us that represents something
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that is of alarm. in recent polls in europe upwards of 66 to 76% of jewish communities relay they felt more threatened and more under duress than they have in the last several years. so we need to find constructive ways to combat this issue. we have an envoy, and his mandate is to travel to these different countries. he has travelled to 15 countries over the last year. many of them friends, and engaged in dialogues both with jewish community leaders, government counterparts to say what are constructive ways we can help alleviate some of these issues, and how can we break the trend line when it comes to anti-semitism anti-semitism. >> thank you. coming up the humanitarian crises are overwhelming relief
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agencies to help. and then a shock video portrays what life would be like for a child if the syrian conflict were unfolding in a western nation like the u.s. and what do you think? join the conversation on twitter and on our facebook and google plus pages.
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the syrian civil war continues to convulse the middle east. almost 3 million people have fled to other countries, even when crises in iraq and gaza drive this humanitarian crisis from the headlines, doctors without borders continuing its heroic work. volunteers from the medical ngo have delivered more than 63,000 emergency room consultations. 10,000 surgeries, 100,000 outpatient visits, and 2300 babies in facilities that range from hospitals to caves and tents. recently doctors without borders called attention to the suffering in syria and neighboring countries with a new
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web video, the reach of war. here is a sample. >> the work is really demanding, but it's what the patient needs now, not tomorrow or not in a week. >> for more i am joined by terra newell who served as the head of mission in syria for doctors without borders, terra good to have you with us. the reach of war videos are very, very powerful. they are powerfullydy pressing powerfully inspiring, because they show the work that your doctors do in those war-torn areas. the message you are trying to get out is with these numbers there is just no way of understanding the magnitude of what is happening. >> the data is staggering. what gets lost is the human face to the whole conflict and it's so easy going into the fourth year now of this conflict to be
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desensitized, if you will to the whole thing. and a big part of what we were trying to do and say is there is such a human element to it that people just perhaps need to understand, and what i'll equate it too, i have come back from being there for a year trying to explain to my family these were very developed, modern people, people like you and me who sent their children to school with a spiderman backpack oar had soccer practice after school, and suddenly the whole bottom has fallen out for them. suddenly you no longer have access to healthcare. we take for granted that we can go into any hospital and get care, and your children are dying of preventable things. >> your doctors have had to set up clinics in chicken farms, in caves, under crazy circumstances, the syrian government isn't even allowing
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them on their territory. but what about the danger to your doctors? because you have the savagery of this i.s. group. >> yeah we juggle a lot of complication. access is so limited in this country because of the insecurity. as you say we have had to be creative with delivery of our programs. and we have had to juggle at all times what is in the best interest of those we're trying to serve and the security of our staff. all of the doctors in the hospitals. and what i have seen in this whole year was an absolute disregard for humanitarian principles which also is very difficult for us. so i have worked in many contexts around the world, where at the end of the day, at least hospitals and ambulances were respected. we don't see that in syria. >> yeah that's incredible. you show doctors from all over
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helping people. let's take a look at one of your doctors, a trauma surgeon at work in jordan. >> that's the shell. we have three new cases coming kids. severe bleeding. >> some of these doctors are working around the clock, this doctor was a refugee himself. >> yes. >> how many people are there like him who in your group who come to it because of their personal experiences? >> we have so many people working for us expatriot staff as well as national staff, some of whom are refugees themselves. and it's extraordinary how many people are willing to put themselves out there to help. but once you get there, you are compelled to help. these people are so -- so -- >> they are so in need and there
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is so much suffering from little kids to old people. it's across the board. >> yeah. >> and these refugee camps are cities. >> yeah. >> let's play another clip from reach of war. in this case it's a psychotherapist who is speaking. >> if anybody could tell them okay. you have to stay here for another two months and then you can go back home people would cope easily. but nobody can tell them when they can leave the camp or if they can go back. >> so it's not just the physical suffering, it's the psychological suffering. as you said their lives completely upturned. what does that do to their psyche? >> i can't even imagine myself. but to be honest i mean these are people who as i said were normal people living normal lives when everything fell out. so the psychological trauma is enormous, and during the time i was there, the number of
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psychological patients that we saw became greater and greater as we went on. but as i say, i mean they have lost people. they no longer have a place to go. we don't see an end in site. and i think that's what plays on them as well is when is this going to end? when will this nightmare end? and i think that has got to be impossible to live with. >> what can we do to help? what can people do to help doctors without borders. let's listen to a young girl who lost both of her legs and lost her mother. it's horrifying. so what can people do to help doctors without borders. >> well first we want people to understand what is happening, and see the human side of it. part of the work that we do is also to witness what we see and share with other people. and that in and of itself is
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really important to us. other than that of course being able to support cross border supply of goods. you know, the united nations making an effort to try to get supplies in and the international community really needs to speak up about this. it's very underwhiming to be honest. and i think we need to get together and speak a bit louder in terms of the need for humanitarian access to these populations that are so much in need. >> good to have you with us. thanks. >> thanks. getting people to focus on the struggles of ored neir people in syria can be difficult. after three years of brutal fighting many people around the world have turned away from this terrible story. which is why save the children marked the anniversary with a web video.
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♪ happy birthday to you ♪ >> make a wish. >> have you done your homework? [ explosion ] >> where are we? [ gunfire ] >> daddy! ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ >> make a wish darling. >> for more i'm joined from washington, d.c. by save the children vice president for policy and humanitarian response. the video is sadly very powerful. how many people have seen it and what has the response been
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so far? >> it has been a very very strong response. i think over 13.5 million viewers have seen that video. and it was our effort to bringing what is happening over there here. >> and the numbers of childrens who's lives have been destroyed by syria's civil war is staggering. more than 7,000 killed. 1.2 million are refugees. 2.25 million have been denied an education. 5 million need help. this is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. >> it's really horrific circumstances, and that's why we are encouraged that so many people have viewed this film. and there does seem to be growing empathy, which we hope will turn into action next week when we mark the third anniversary of the war.
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talking about the humanitarian aid, an incredible 18% of syrian certain under five are refugees. that means they have had to leave syria. if that same conflict were happening here in the united states more than 1 in 40 american children of that age would have been driven from their homes. so is one of the issues that the numbers are so overwhelming, and it has been going on so long that it drives people away from giving rather than helping? >> i think the numbers are staggering, and people feel numb and feel like there is nothing they can do about it. but there is certainly a lot of assistance that save the children and others are providing, and support will be able to put bread on people's tables medical care livelihoods, all kinds of support. but secondly i think it's important that the world's
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leaders should understand that people want to show solidarity with the family in syria, and we need to accelerate efforts to bring about a political settlement. >> and that has been part of the problem, is they simply have not been terribly willing to negotiate, including allowing humanitarian aid in. we are showing some of the horrible pictures from refugee camps. we saw how it is freezing cold where people are living in tents in many cases. more than 2.5 million syrians are struggling to survive outside of syria, and every day we're seeing new pictures of fighting. what can people do to help save the children and other organizations who are trying to help these people? >> right. i have not been inside syria, but i have visited our work in neighboring countries. and save the children right now is reaching over a million
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people in syria and neighboring countries. and people can provide support to non-profits to do that work and also they are encourage their governments to step it up and ensure that more humanitarian aid is getting to people inside syria. there's pretty good assistance being provided to refugees in neighboring countries, but one of the real shortfalls is support for people inside syria, and we have to do more to get the aid in. >> yeah, it's incredible to even contemplate what this is going to mean with all of these people suffering. michael claesson thank you very much. and best of luck in all of your efforts to help these kids. >> former president jimmy carter joins us to discuss
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discrimination and abuse against women. and how murder and other physical intimidation is stopping you from hearing some of the world's most important stories. and later why some journalists are calling the obama administration the most hostile to the press in u.s. history. people of our time... talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america
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>> al jazeera america presents >> somebody's telling lies... >> it looks nothing like him... >> pan am flight 103 explodes december 21st, 1988 was the right man convicted? >> so many people, at such a high level, had the stake in al-megrahi's guilt
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>> the most definitive look at this shocking crime >> the major difficulty for the prosecution that there was no evidence >> al jazeera america presents lockerbie part three: what really happened? welcome back to a special edition of freedom under fire. we return now to a call to action from former president of jimmy carter over the deprivation and abuse of young girls. he highlights an exclusive religious text. and pointing a finger at merck, writing that growing tolerance of violence and warfare has also played a role.
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the book is "a call to action action ." i talked to him and asked him what inspired him? >> they have had programs of an active nature in 79 different countries, and since i left the white that's what we have been doing. and we have gotten to know people in all kinds of nations, particularly in third world countries where women and girls are abused. but the people who can do something about it now have 23 recommendations in the book to help solve these problems but particularly in the rich world like the united states. and a lot of the problems occur in the poorest countries, but are also present here in the united states. for instance slavery, the slavery scene is much greater than it was during the 19th
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century when black people were brought out of africa for slavery. there is about $32 billion worth of human trafficking every year. and the state department now is required to report on this annually, and they reported last year that 800,000 people were sold across international borders per year. and 80% of those sold are girls for secx purposes. and 100,000 in the united states. the number one place in america for -- for this human slavery traffic is in atlanta, because we have the largest airport on earth, and also because a lot of our passengers come from third world, from the southern part of the world where the girls can be brought cheaper. you can -- a brothel owner can buy a girl through the atlanta airport for about a thousand
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dollars. >> we have got all sorts of social media response from people who wanted to ask you questions. heather asked, how can we fight trafficking in the u.s.? >> well i think the united states has to take the leadership on an entire world basis. i'm talking about girls and women, because as i say girls comprise 80% of the people sold into slavery. there is a convention on the end of discrimination against women, and the united states has refused to ratify this treaty this convention that exists because we don't want to do anything with the united nations in the very conservative senate. and there is a law called violence against women. and that requires that every country tabulate not only their own crimes but also try to
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decree the criminality of actions against women and girls and all prisoners and slaves whether men or women. so these are the things that happen and another thing that is very terrible in the united states is that the worst places for sexual abuse in america are two of our greatest institutions, one is universities. >> where we're seeing on epidemic of sexual assault. >> and one out of four girls who enroll in a university is raped or had sexual abuse while she is in school. and only about 4% are reported. about 1/6th as much reported in the civilian environment. >> and the other institution is the military. >> exactly. and it's a parallel problem, because the commanding officer doesn't want to admit in his chain of command, that a lot of sexual abuse takes place. so he discourages the women from
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reporting. the same thing happens with college presidents and deans who don't want to bring a bad name to the university where they teach and so forth. >> so are you upset at what happened in the senate where they rejected a bill that could have taken prosecution out of the chain of command? >> i'm very disappointed. they made some changes. there was a horrible case of a [ inaudible ] at a naval academy, which i attended and the "washington post" reported for three days she was interrogated by the football player's defender -- lawyer 21 hours and three days and she asked to be let off for the next day because she was tired and the judge ruled against her and made her testify on saturday as well. and they asked her horrendous questions like how many times have you kissed a boy in what
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kind off underwear were you wearing? how wide do you open your mouth when you give oral sex to a boy. so that sends a signal all over the military. if you are a woman and you get accused don't make a charge officially against your rapist. >> undoubtedly this is a tremendous issue across the world and -- and you say that it's the biggest worldwide issue, worldwide challenge. >> it's unaddressed. >> it's unaddressed, but in a world where we're facing nuclear proliferation, wars terrorism, why is it that big of a challenge? >> let's look at the number of people that die because of this. about 35 million people were killed in the second world war, right? and in the civil war in america, 600,000 were killed. at this moment there are 160 million girls who are missing
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because they have been killed by their parents, either at birth they strangle the baby because it's a girl and they need to have boys or because they now have sewn grams and they can detect the gender of the baby and they destroy those babies. >> the shortest chapter is called called called gen side of girls. >> and in china and india they want to have boys so they can support them in their old age. so they can have a maximum of one or two children they want to make darn sure they have a
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boy. there is a famous movie, and there is a woman in there from india, who says that she strangled eight daughters when they were born as infants. so this kind of thing goes on around the world, and the united states, i think needs to take the leadership role in stopping this mandatory prostitution prostitution. >> you are very critical of the role of religion when it comes to women and girls. >> well i'm a christian, and there's no place in the bible that detects any words or actions of jesus christ that puts women in a second position. jesus was a champion of women's rights and made women a higher status than ever had been in history before him. but there are some verses that you can exact interest the bible in the old testament or new testament, you can interpret it
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one way or another. >> and it's men who are interpreting this. >> it is until about a third century, women played a very strong role in all of the christian churches including the catholic but as paul pointed out, there were 25 leaders that we mentioned specifically, and about half f them are women. but now of course a woman can't be a priest or decan. and in the universities at a higher level in the southern baptist convention, if a woman is a teacher in the seminary and there are very few left they can't teach boys in the classroom classroom. >> and you left the organization because of their position on women. and you have commune skated with pope francis. >> i have. and i think he is a great leader. and i have great hopes for him.
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i talked to the pope when i was in the white house, and i found almost an complete inflexibility there. but i wrote pope francis a letter describing some of the issues in my book and asking him to help. i didn't ask him to change the catholic position on women priests for instance but -- and he wrote me a very nice letter back, and he said that he was convinced that the future role of women in the catholic church needed to be strengthened and would be. >> the book is "a call to action." president carter it is such an honor to have you with us. best of luck. >> thank you. coming up on this special edition of "consider this," freedom of the press under assault. why a "new york times" reporter is calling president obama the
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most difficult for the press in american history.
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>> pain killer addiction on the rise >> i loved the feeling of not being in pain >> deadly consequences >> the person i married was gone >> are we prescribing an epidemic? >> the last thing drug companies wanted anybody to think was that, this was a prescribing problem >> fault lines al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... award winning investigative documentary series... opioid wars only on al jazeera america the leading cause of work-related deaths for journalists worldwide is murder.
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the salve rage execution of james foley, by islamic state terrorists is a gruesome reminder of that reality. the documentary "killing the messenger, the deadly cost of news," aired on al jazeera. a warning, some of the video we will show is graphic. [ gunfire ] >> there is a lot of very brave and extraordinary work that goes on around the world from people who the public don't know much about. i see enormous bravery, enormous challenge, great courage going on to surface things that the public really needs to know
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about. >> eric and tricia codirected the film and join us from los angeles. and reuter's journalist is featured in the film. he was held by the taliban for seven months before escaping. good to have you all with us. it's an incredibly powerful film. and the world has gotten more dangerous for journalists. >> absolutely. and i think it's the impunity that allow these situations to occur. the number of journalists that in jail when we finished the film was about 270. but this is indicative of something that is going on around the world, and is really
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the result of the fact that there is an atmosphere of impunity that allows this kind of thing to happen. >> and tricia there have been many more killings of journalists since the year 2000 pretty much than any time in the past. >> yes, this is true. [ inaudible ] is a great way to get a story off of the headlines or control the message, and it's happening around the world. but it is happening particularly in russia and mexico you see it happening and with different methods, but you kill or [ inaudible ] you silence many. it's a shame, it's tragic and pervasive. >> and david kidnapping is also a huge issue, something you suffered through. the taliban. tell us about your experience. >> i was in afghanistan in 2008, working on a book. i decided i wanted to interview
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taliban commander. and i met this commander. he abducted me and two afghans i was working with. took us to the tribal areas of pakistan and held us there for several months and we were very lucky to escape. as we sit here there are at least 30 journalists that have been kidnapped in syria. mostly by jihadist rebels. and the problem is just growing. >> it's worse in syria than anywhere else. but it's also virtually impossible to report on these issues without endangering yourses. >> absolutely. and the real danger is for local journalists. the vast majority of people dying are mexican journalists, and russian journalists, there was mass shooting of dozens of filipino journalists several months ago. >> and tricia has you spoke tore
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journ -- journalists, it does have a tremendous chilling effect on them when their colleagues are getting attacked and kidnapped. >> yes definitely. we spoke with one journalist in mexico, and he left mexico because not only was he getting threats, but his family was getting threats. and that impacts the community at large and the information people get. it happens over and over again. and people start practicing self censorship because they don't want to end up as a statistic. >> eric is there any hope when the cartels kill police and bribe and threaten government officials? >> i think in the case of mexico there's a number of problems that go beyond just what we see in -- in the situation with the cartels. there was a lot of good work
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done by people behind the scenes in the journalist community to get the federal government to pass a law that made the killing of a journalist a federal crime. but like so many of the laws that we see globally it really ends up being hyperbole. and doesn't have any teeth in it. in mexico and also russia the cases of journalists being killed beaten kidnapped aren't even investigated. and when they are investigated oftentimes it is written off as a random crime. there's no attempt to see if the mastermind may have had something to gain by silencing the journalist. >> tricia you tell harrowing stories on journalists on russia. how bad is it under president
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putin? >> he is really turning the screw on journalists. and as the olympics approach there is not a lot of critical reporting being done that isn't having a backlash of some sort. and people need to be critical of what is going on. they need to expose crime and corruption and get the information out there, so the population can make informed decisions. >> tremendous corruption in sochi that has mostly been ignored because i think of the threats against the journalists. david just a final question what is it like for a journalist to operate in environments like this? >> well, you do it -- to be frank there are many more civilians that die in these conflicts and soldiers at much greater risk. and you want to bring out the truth. it's a noble profession. i love it and will do it as long as i can. so you hope this doesn't happen to you, but it is almost a
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number's game, and if you are going to go to these countries eventually something is going to go wrong. and it's the impunity. governments have to stop this from happening and for letting it go unpunished. >> this documentary is very powerful. eric tricia david, appreciate you all joining us tonight. coming up the united states falls to number 46 on the reporters without borders press freedom index. we'll talk to the "new york times" reporter who could face jail time for refusing to reveal his sources. [ cheers ] of storytelling. we have an ouportunity to really reach out and really talk to voices that we haven't heard before... i think al jazeera america is a watershed moment for american journalism
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the plight of three al jazeera journalists sentenced to prison in egypt last june prompted worldwide protests and a continuing effort to see them freed. but journalism isn't only under assault in other countries, it is happening here as well. the u.s. supreme court rejected james risens appeal that he
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could not ignore a subpoena to testify because he was a journalist. now with prosecutors pursue risen's testimony he could face jail time. jim thank you for joining us. >> thanks for having us. >> you recently had this to say about the obama administration. >> they are now perceived i think widely within the journalistic industry as the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered as an industry in at least a generation. >> others have echoed your comments. president obama of course promised a lot of transparency during his campaign. you also said the administration has pretty much doubled down on bush administration tactics,
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doing things that the bush administration had even barely considered. >> yeah i think there's not much doubt about it. the track record is pretty clear. they have had more leak investigations, and more leak prosecutions and have jailed more people in connection with stories that have appeared in the media than any other administration ever has. they have cracked down on reporters in various ways over the last few years, as well as whistleblowers, and they have tried to shut off the flow of information from the government to the people. which is the whole point of the first amendment. >> and you have also said that the administration is trying to create a de facto official secret sect. that it is trying to control the facts so only the facts that the government wants to be heard are heard. how? >> one way they have done it is
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by prosecuting and going after -- and conducting criminal investigations of stories they don't like. if you -- if the people write stories in my case in a book it's a good chance that they will conduct a leak investigation if it involves in their minds some -- some aspect of national security, and so they -- they will be happy to provide information officially leaked through the white house, and officially sanctioned that makes the obama administration's national security policies look good. but if -- but stories that raise serious questions that investigate u.s. policy are much more likely to be subjected to a criminal leak investigation by the fbi and the justice department. the justice department is being used by the obama administration much like president nixon used
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an enemy's list it's just a more officially sanctioned version. >> and the white house has called for a pardon for the al jazeera journalists imprisoned in egypt but what kind of message does it send to the rest of the world when the administration itself is facing so much criticism from journalists? >> that's really what i think is the most important thing we should be thinking about here. what is the message that the obama administration is sending to the rest of the world in the way that it's handling press freedom or cracking down on press freedom here? it is providing in my opinion, the word -- the message is going out from washington to the rest of the world that it's okay to crack down on reporters, so countries like egypt are getting that message, and i unfortunately believe that the way in which the obama administration has cracked down on press freedom has sent a green light to countries like
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egypt that it's okay to jail reporters. >> because of the crackdown that -- these crackdowns that you are talking about, including your case the reporters without freedom -- without borders press freedom index has the u.s. plummeting to only 46th in the world when it comes to press freedoms. do you think we'll see some sort of shield law to protect journalists? there are different proposals that have made some progress in the house and senate but it's likely if anything becomes law it would most likely have to have some sort of national security exception? >> right. yeah. it's difficult to tell right now which way the legislative process is going to go. but, you know, the problem today -- i believe that we need a shield law, and so i'm not sure which way congress is going to end up going, but i think the problem that the obama administration has brought on itself is that it has
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performed -- you know done all of this crackdown at the same time that it says it supports shield legislation. so it has a very mixed message that they are sending, and as i said they are sending this message to the rest of the world that i think is very dangerous, which is the home of the first amendment is cracking down on journalism, so everywhere else you can do the same thing. >> yeah at a time when journalists are being persecuted pretty much on other continent on earth. that's it for now, but our conversation continues on our facebook and google+ pages. we'll see you next time. ♪
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the most prominent critic of putin is arrested after defying house arrest to join an opposition protest in moscow. ♪ hello, you are watching al jazeera live from our headquarters here in doha. also ahead, indonesia's president orders a massive search to find the remaining passengers and crew of the downed airasia jet. we report on the defense of

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